by Mark S. Geller, DDS, MSD, PA
Web communications are a hit with my patients and staff
My practice is in a suburban area with a favorable socioeconomic population mix. The lives of my patients, a mixture of adults and adolescents, are busy and hectic. I have a full-time staff of nine with additional part-time auxiliaries. They have a collective wealth of experience, and as a team, we are devoted to excellent patient care, going above and beyond what might typically be expected of us.
For the most part, I use traditional fixed orthodontic appliances, including both labial and lingual appliances as well as functional and aligner appliances. We place temporary skeletal anchorage in our office with the aid of a soft-tissue diode laser.
Our practice strives to offer the most effective and progressive care for our patients, and our facility and protocols reflect our forward-thinking, technology-centered image. One of the most effective tools we’ve implemented to enhance our patients’ experience is Ortho Sesame™.
|Mark S. Geller, DDS, MSD, PA|
My practice began using the system in 2002. At the time, the automated appointment reminder was our primary reason for installing the technology. With Sesame, we help our patients remember their appointments by automatically sending an e-mail reminder 2 days prior to their visit. The e-mail also gives them an opportunity to confirm their visit online, and the message prompts them to call us if they need to reschedule. Rescheduling days in advance of their original appointment allows another patient on our waiting list to fill the newly open time. This creates a win-win situation, which is what everyone in our practice strives for.
Our patients also can choose to receive an automated phone reminder the night before their appointments. This option also allows the patient to respond electronically if they will not be able to make their visit. With this system, our productivity has increased, adding directly to our bottom line.
Saving Time, Saving Money
We’ve realized other benefits since incorporating Sesame in our practice as well. They updated our Web site, and it’s now a much better representation of who we really are. It exemplifies our overall commitment to patient care and customer service. Our new patients are able to fill out their initial medical and history forms online. This gives them the convenience and comfort of doing this at home, and they don’t have to arrive early for their appointments to complete paperwork. It also reduces the time and expense the office used to incur when mailing registration materials to patients before their visit, only to find that most people did not finish the paperwork or had left it at home. Instead, we get the forms online, allowing my staff to be better prepared when patients arrive for their first visit.
We also use this as the initial opportunity for our patients to enroll in our online communications system from our Web site. For those who do not enroll at that time, we encourage them to sign up when they come into the office for their initial examination. Incidentally, 84% of our patients are signed up and use the system!
Sesame Interactive™ is another feature that saves time for me and my colleagues who are a part of my patients’ multidisciplinary teams. It allows me to invite other dental professionals to view my records online, at their convenience. This includes photographs from my imaging system (Dolphin Imaging™) and practice-management software (OrthoTrac™). This saves the inevitable phone tag and barrage of e-mails usually associated with treatment planning.
It also allows parents of adolescent patients who can’t be present for consultations to view photographs and radiographs at home by going to our Web site and logging in to their account.
Fewer Phone Calls Equal More Production
Our patients can check on their appointments or account balances any time of the day. They also can communicate with our office through the e-mail link on our Web site. This further reduces the need for phone calls and allows us to respond at our most convenient time and with adequate preparation. In fact, 127 of our patients have logged into their online accounts within the past 30 days, which represents 127 calls we didn’t receive!
The newsletter templates are easy to use and make communicating with our patients through the Internet less demanding on our team. Our e-mail blasts are received immediately, and doing this online saves paper, printing, and postage costs. The newsletters help drive traffic to our Web site, which received nearly 1,500 hits this past month.
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My practice is extremely happy to have Sesame as part of our team. Our patients, and those they have referred, appreciate the increased convenience of “anytime access” to information they desire. We see 70 to 80 patients on a typical day, and the automated phone calls and online communications have greatly reduced the amount of time our staff spends on the phone. This has significantly reduced our broken appointments and has boosted production by allowing them to make better use of their time.
Mark S. Geller, DDS, MSD, PA, maintains a private practice in Plano, Tex. He has received the Best Dentist Award from D magazine and Texas Monthly magazine. You can find further information on his Web site, www.drgeller.com, and he can be reached at